Although familiar and somewhat cheesy at times, Boss Level pays homage to the over-the-top action films of the ’90s while having its own unique ideas to make it a fun and thrilling ride.
I feel I’ve been waiting to see Boss Level for so long now. I remember this being filmed a few years back and it seems it took forever for it to finally release somewhere. With it being on Hulu, I was finally able to check it out. I’m a big fan of Frank Grillo and I think Joe Carnahan is pretty underrated as a director who always has interesting ideas incorporated into his films, especially The Grey. I still would’ve liked to see what he would’ve done with Bad Boys for Life if he did end up directing it, but the film turned out great anyway, so I can’t be disappointed by it. But, let’s get back on topic with his latest non-stop, mayhem-filled, action film, Boss Level.
Boss Level stars Frank Grillo as Roy Pulver, a retired military operative who’s stuck in an endless time loop on the day he dies. Trying to get out of it, he finds new clues and mysteries to follow each day as he memorizes the patterns of those trying to kill him in order to eventually reach a new day.
This movie takes off running from the very start and doesn’t really take much time to breathe. If it was any other film, I would say it’s a bit rushed and the story is a bit sloppy, along with the characters not being fully developed. However, according to the plot and how it progresses, I have to say it moves along smoother than I expected. It isn’t entirely hard to follow and as a viewer, you have a general idea of what’s going on. It’s rare to do this in a film like this, in my opinion, but I feel Boss Level definitely got it right.
Grillo is pretty great as your typical military operative kind of guy. My only gripe with his performance is we’ve seen him do this kind of thing time and time again. There isn’t anything relatively new or nuanced about this latest venture. Then again, it doesn’t mean it didn’t work for me, because I still think he did a great job with what he was given and ultimately, how the character was delivered. At its core, you watch this for the non-stop action. Since it deals with him learning the pattern of the same day, you can see how he adapts to certain situations and how he decides to go about the same event with different methods. It’s entertaining to watch, honestly.
As for every other character, I did expect a bit more, especially from Mel Gibson and Naomi Watts. However, this is obviously a showcase for Grillo’s action prowess. Everyone else is there to do a specific role and that’s that. Their performances don’t really feel entirely important in the grander scheme of things. I guess you can say the dynamic between Grillo and Watts is the most important since it’s pretty critical to the story. Gibson had an intriguing introduction since most his character is shrouded in mystery, but he never capitalizes on the first impression he gives off.
The relationship I enjoyed the most is between Pulver and his estranged son. Given the nature of his work, he was never around for him. He uses his situation to get to know a little bit more of him everyday and seeing their relationship strengthen day by day was a joy to watch, at least for me. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good father and son story.
The end result is pretty entertaining and I found myself mostly satisfied with the film. It’s a bit short, and I thought the production value could’ve been a bit better. However, you watch this for the intense action from the start, and you stick with it because of his story and how he figures out how to overcome his situation. I think most will have a fun time with this one for what it is, since I surely did. It really does remind me of action movies I grew up watching in the ’90s, with the over-the-top sequences and witty one-liners thrown in throughout.